Recently I was able to work with AllAbout Baby Expo and write an article for their magazine. I wanted to share what
I wrote. So here’s my piece on Listening to Your Child. This is a work in
progress for me and I am definitely not
perfect at it. But here’s my thoughts and what I am trying to implement in my parenting.

(All photos taken by Alicia Reiner Photography)

crying, and screaming seems to be the regular communication style of my four
children ages seven and younger. So for many years I treated this as the
norm in our household and naturally would punish, yell back, or even cry
at times as I tried to fix their problems as quickly as I could. 

But recently I’ve been trying a different approach. I’m trying to really listen
to my children. When they’re crying, fighting, whining I’m trying to hear
what they have to share and listen to what they tell me. And even though
it has been hard to be patient, the connections I’ve made with my children
motivates me. 

For example, recently my son slugged his brother over a game of foosball.
Instead of putting him in timeout and scolding him, I took him aside. I bent down to his level and asked
him about the situation. He admitted getting angry about losing the game
and hitting his brother. And then he cried. He cried in my arms and told
me how angry he had felt and how upset he felt with himself that he couldn’t
control his feelings and had hit his brother. 

I would have never known that my child feeling upset with himself if I had gone
through my normal motions and had placed him in timeout. My child was doing the best he could to
deal with these strong emotions that even grown adults cannot

I then talked to him about how sometimes emotions are really hard to understand
and can feel strong inside of us. And sometimes even adults make mistakes. I shared a solution that
when you feel angry with yourself and you can say and show how sorry you are. And how good it can
be to fix the problem you made instead of sulking angry with ourselves.

I  also then firmly shared how I understand that it’s hard to lose a game.
And how I don’t like the feeling I get when I lose too and how those
feelings make me feel. But I also shared that as a player of the game you
sometimes win and lose. But even when you lose it is not ok to harm someone,
ever. We talked about how his brother felt when he hit him. 

I feel like when I show my son compassion, empathy, and control over my
emotions he is more receptive to what I have to say and feels safe to talk
about his own emotions. This helps me to really listen to my child.

Another way I am trying to open up communication with my kids is a fun
nighttime routine. At night I ask my children each individually,
“What didn’t you like about today?” The children then can share whatever events of the day made them feel sad, angry, or frustrated. Then I
ask, “What did you like about today?” The children can share anything that made them feel happy,
excited, or satisfied. 

After doing this routine for years I noticed how much my children have to
share. There was so much emotions I was unaware of throughout the day. Just like adults have lots to share
about their day, so do children. Children have complicated and deep emotions.
And I’m noticing that when my children are acting out there is usually an
underlying issue that they need to discuss. We all need to be heard
an understood. Emotions in life are hard, even for children.

This being said, I don’t claim to do any of this perfectly. I have my moments
when I lose my cool or I take a mommy timeout. Being a mother is a busy
job and is emotionally taxing. And keeping patience while your child is
slugging the other is hard. I feel like being a mother is a constantly changing
job and requires constant effort. So here’s one thing that has helped me
connect with my children more. They still whine and cry but are now more
eager to share their feelings and in turn talk through them.  y
last suggestion. if you want to try this is to be patient with yourself
too. As mothers we are trying to do our best and even imperfect efforts
make an impact on our children’s emotionally well being.”

BTW our shirts are from Brassy Apple. My skirt is from Agnes and Dora and Noras penguin pants are from Thanks for stopping by! Love you all! I think all moms are amazing.